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but could not carry it to his head, on account of the great shake in his hand; on this he cast his joke, saying, “ What would my poor father say to me if he was to pop out of the grave, and see me now? I remember when I was a little boy, the first bumper of claret he gave me after dinner, how he praised me for carrying it so steady to my mouth. Here's my thanks to him-a bumper toast.” Then he fell to singing the favourite song he learned from his father
- for the last time, poor gentleman-he sung it that night as loud and as hearty as ever with a chorus:
“He that goes to bed, and goes to bed sober, Falls as the leaves do, falls as the leaves do, and dies in Oc
But he that goes to bed, and goes to bed mellow,
an honest fellow.” Sir Patrick died that night : just as the company rose to drink his health with three cheers, he fell down in a sort of fit, and was carried off ; they sat it out, and were surprised, on inquiry, in the morning, to find that it was all over with poor sir Patrick. Never did any gentleman live and die more beloved in the country by rich and poor. His funeral was such a one as was never known before or since in the county! All the gentlemen in the three counties were at it; far and near, how they flocked: my great grandfather said, that to see all the women even in their red cloaks, you would have taken them for the army drawn out. Then such a fine whillaluh ! you might have heard it to the farthest end of
the county, and happy the man who could get sight of the hearse! But who'd have thought it? just as all was going on right, through his own town they were passing, when the body was seized for debt—a rescue was apprehended from the mob; but the heir who attended the funeral was against that, for fear of consequences, seeing that those villains who came to serve acted under the disguise of the law : so, to be sure, the law must take its course, and little gain had the creditors for their pains. First and foremost, they had the curses of the country: and sir Murtagh Rackrent, the new heir, in the next place, on account of this affront to the body, refused to pay a shilling of the debts, in which he was countenanced by all the best gentlemen of property, and others of his acquaintance ; sir Murtagh alleging in all companies, that he all along meant to pay his father's debts of honour, but the moment the law was taken of him, there was an end of honour to be sure. It was whispered (but none but the enemies of the family believe it), that this was all a sham seizure to get quit of the debts, which he had bound himself to pay in honour.
It's a long time ago, there's no saying how it was, but this for certain, the new man did not take at all after the old gentleman ; the cellars were never filled after his death, and no open house, or any thing as it used to be ; the tenants even were sent away without their whiskey. I was ashamed myself, and knew not what to say for the honour of the family ; but I made the best of a bad case, and laid it all at my lady's door, for I did not like her any how, nor any body else ; she was of the family of the Skinflints, and a widow; it was a strange match for sir Murtagh; the people in the country thought he demeaned himself greatly, but I said nothing: I knew how it was; sir Murtagh was a great lawyer, and looked to the great Skinflint estate ; there, however, he overshot himself; for though one of the coheiresses, he was never the better for her, for she outlived him many's the long day—he could not see that to be sure when he married her. I must say for her, she made him the best of wives, being a very notable stirring woman, and looking close to every thing. But I always suspected she had Scotch blood in her veins; any thing else I could have looked over in her from a regard to the family. She
a strict observer for self and servants of Lent, and all fast days, but not holidays. One of the maids having fainted three times the last day of Lent, to keep soul and body together, we put a morsel of roast beef into her mouth, which came from sir Murtagh’s dinner, who never fasted, not he; but somehow or other it unfortunately reached my lady's ears, and the priest of the parish had a complaint made of it the next day, and the poor girl was forced as soon as she could walk to do penance for it, before she could get any peace or absolution, in the house or out of it. However, my lady was very charitable in her own way. She had a charity school for poor children, where they were taught to read and write gratis, and where they were kept well
to spinning gratis for my lady in return; for she had always heaps of duty yarn from the tenants, and got all her household linen out of the estate from first to last ; for after the spinning, the weavers on the estate took it in hand for nothing, because of the looms my lady's interest could get from the Linen Board to distribute gratis. Then there was a bleach-yard near us, and the tenant dare refuse my lady nothing, for fear of a law-suit sir Murtagh kept hanging over him about the water-course. With these ways of managing, 'tis surprising how cheap my lady got things done, and how proud she was of it.
Her table the same way, kept for next to nothing; duty fowls, and duty turkies, and duty geese, came as fast as we could eat 'em, for my lady kept a sharp look-out, and knew to a tub of butter every thing the tenants had, all round. They knew her way, and what with fear of driving for rent and sir Murtagh's lawsuits, they were kept in such good order, they never thought of coming near Castle Rackrent without a present of something or other—nothing too much or too little for my ladyeggs, honey, butter, meal, fish, game, grouse, and herrings, fresh or salt, all went for something. As for their young pigs, we had them, and the best bacon and hams they could make up, with all young chickens in spring ; but they were a set of poor wretches, and we had nothing but misfortunes with them, always breaking and running away. This, sir Murtagh and my lady said, was all their former landlord sir Patrick's fault, who let 'em all get the
half year's rent into arrear; there was something in that to be sure. But sir Murtagh was as much the contrary way; for let alone making English tenants of them, every soul, he was always driving and driving, and pounding and pounding, and canting and canting, and replevying and replevying, and he made a good living of trespassing cattle; there was always some tenant's pig, or horse, or cow, or calf, or goose, trespassing, which was so great a gain to sir Murtagh, that he did not like to hear me talk of repairing fences. Then his heriots and duty-work brought him in something, his turf was cut, his potatoes set and dug, his hay brought home, and, in short, all the work about his house done for nothing; for in all our leases there were strict clauses heavy with penalties, which sir Murtagh knew well how to enforce ; so many days' duty work of man and horse, from every tenant, he was to have, and had, every year; and when a man vexed him, why the finest day he could pitch on, when the cratur was getting in his own harvest, or thatching his cabin, sir Murtagh made it a principle to call upon him and his horse ; so he taught 'em all, as he said, to know the law of landlord and tenant. As for law, I believe no man, dead or alive, ever loved it so well as sir Murtagh. He had once sixteen suits pending at a time, and I never saw him so much himself; roads, lanes, bogs, wells, ponds, cel-wires, orchards, trees, tithes, vagrants, gravelpits, sandpits, dunghills, and nuisances, every thing upon the face of the earth furnished him good matter for a suit. He